Competition and its Essence
Within the pigeon sport this is something that we all have to contend with. From the local club level to federation to national and then, should we choose to, International. There is one more competition that we are all in and it’s this one that concerns me most. I will come to this later.
Within the pigeon world competition is rife. We all want to win at our chosen discipline to race at whether it be sprint, middle, long or marathon distances. The key factor for most is the drive to succeed. For me I feel that this is part of our make up as humans. Without that drive we will simply never be successful at whatever we do. Never mind Pigeon Racing. The thing is we can see it in those that are successful at racing their pigeons successfully. We look at a successful fancier and say it must be a trick or he has a great system or other such nonsense. I can agree that how we race our birds to a degree impacts and effects how successful they are at competing however it is the man or woman behind the system where the drive to succeed is found. If we look at such individual and their surrounding life employment or lifestyle we can see that the drive to succeed takes part in most if not all aspects of their life. The successful flyer is usually successful within all levels of the sport from club right to national and international level. It seems to us onlookers that they can do no wrong and that no matter what we do we can never keep up.
This is where most fail to succeed the look at others that are successful and instead of applauding their hard work and dedication to the sport the love as much and in some cases more than the onlooker the choose to find fault. Usually the fault is based in why they cannot succeed with the same persons birds to the same level or that they have better birds. Whilst in some cases the fact is yes they have better birds and the reason you cannot succeed to the same level is simple and is something I have seen written in the press over the last few month is that ‘you cannot buy the man’. Firstly the green eyed monster appears in the corner of someone’s eyes and then the begrudging sets in. This is in most cases where the fanciers that is unsuccessful will never meet and achieve the grade in competition with those that are truly successful. Competition in all walks and types of pigeon racing is intense. Never mind when you are constantly thinking about how others are doing it and not how you can improve upon things yourself.
Normally the type of competition we are in with others is decided by the type of racing we are involved in or would like to be successful in. as with most things the real hotbeds are in club and federation level and or combine level. Then we go national and international. When you decide where you want to be it kind of gives you a gauge of the work you put in. In my mind the successful sprinter has to do a lot of work as the birds trapping immediately as much as the return are essential on top of the fitness of the bird. However first and foremost is the bird itself. Is it of the right genetic makeup and are the family a family of successful winning birds for others as well. These are all parts that are involved in the successful fanciers set up and starts from the very beginning when they decide what distances and type of racing they want to be in. This goes the same for all types of racing the groundwork must be spot on if you are to succeed. The birds and loft first then the fancier and his system come to the fore. Then we have to remember for each type of racing we need to decide on a system that suits us as individual fanciers or as a partnership if that is the case. When this is all in place and is right then its time to be the best that you can be. Competition is not about begrudging others it’s about trying to achieve the performances of those that you as a fancier look up to and would like to achieve as they have. When all this competition is considered and accepted by each of us we come to the greatest competition of all.
The greatest competition of all is the one we have with ourselves. This happens when we achieve things we have set out. Becoming excellent at achieving results in the top consistently at whatever level we choose. In this case it usually start with sprint to middle to distance with fanciers as they mature and grow older and look around at the competition. For them the competition with themselves is what motivates them to continue and strive to get the best from their birds always. It is one such fancier that are in competition with themselves that I am trying to be.
As I am sure most of you know that I am focused mainly at getting birds to the Barcelona International. For this an me specifically it is a long road and a 4 year program with the birds to try get them enough experience and to the point where they are mature enough to take on the challenge that in all fairness has been difficult enough for the rest of Europe never mind us here in Ireland. With this to the front of my mind I have had to become quite individual and have a complete change in mind set. I have had to switch off that desire to achieve success in sprint racing and engage with and develop a system to get the birds experience rather than the competition that we all get involved in every day. Birds that can do what I am asking of them, I believe, are born and have the ability inside. My job as a fancier is to get them to the point where this can be tested on the race field. So for me it’s about giving them the experience necessary to do the job I will be asking. This can only be done by sending to races. However care has to be given here as well because as we all know the more they are sent from the loft, even for training, the more likely we will lose them altogether. It has happened time and again where fanciers favourites that have completed the course over several years that once too many time sent and they fail to return. This is where we fall as fanciers. Most of us do not know when to stop. For me there is only one stop and that is the Barcelona International. I will do my best to get the birds to a point where I hope and believe they will be ready to compete on my chosen stage. For this the only important competition is the competition within myself and with myself to take my time and have patience. Patience is the hardest thing to manage for anyone, I think, especially if you have grown up in the pigeon world and where every week racing for points and the win are the aim. Patience to see the plan through over the years no matter what the yearly outcome or what birds are within the loft. The end game must always be in sight.
Of course although the endgame is always there it is also nice to achieve along the way. Whether that be a first getting a bird from a French race into Ireland or a first to get one from something of greater distance that most try. These firsts are milestones in the competition with ourselves and are ones to be cherished no matter the result. So go ahead pick you chosen distance you want to compete at, get the right stock for the job and take on the mindset that is needed to be what you want to be at that distance. Do not mind the ‘nay’ sayers that it can’t be done. Carry on with the competition inside and leave that green eyed monster where he belongs outside our wonderful sport that is Pigeon Racing.
Until next time